I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this. For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. … … (Deuteronomy 32:26-30)
In this stanza of the Song of Moses, the LORD assures that He would not totally obliterate His prodigal and rebellious son; partly because He knows that the human enemies of the LORD and of Israel would boast in the total defeat of their foe, thinking that they themselves (and their false gods) had brought the destruction of God’s people to pass, and also out of a broken-hearted yearning and a purpose to restore the prodigal, in the last days.
The rendering, “I would scatter them into corners…”, is better rendered, “I would scatter them like the wind…” or “I would blow them away…”, i.e. “I would make an utter end of them…”.
Furthermore in the text, it is not the wrath of the enemy, which the LORD fears, but the provocation of the enemy… .
This is the incredible extent that the Most High God, has taken to get across to we finite creatures, the concept of his everlasting love. The idea that the infinite personal Creator and Governor of the universe would even so much as give one thought as to what the gentile nations think about his treatment of Israel, whether he is punishing or rewarding them, is incredible.
There were shades of this concern in the time following the ‘golden calf” incident, when Moses pled with the LORD, on the basis of God’s Holy name and cause in the sight of the Egyptians,
And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people…and the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do to his people .(Exodus 32:9-14)
The Most High, knowing full well the grand scope of his design to save all nations, was careful not to allow those ignorant and pagan nations to misinterpret his dealings with Israel, and to further blaspheme his name, as though he was treacherous, (luring Israel into the wilderness to slay them)or faithless to His promise.
God speaks through Ezekiel repeating the same theme, as to why He didn’t “make a full end of Israel” though they deserved it;
But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.( Ezekiel 20:14-17)
We are now given a glimpse of the heart of Jahweh, yearning and lamenting over the stubborn waywardness and squandered opportunities of his own people. What parent cannot relate, as to how much better it would have been for the ones we love had they but listened? Had they just yielded and considered their ways, how much sweeter it would have been for them?
O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
Isn’t it true to those of us who read and love scripture, that we ever hear the wail of Jahweh over his people, through the sobs of broken-hearted prophets, and even through the broken pleading of the Messiah himself? the LORD yearns over his people, that they turn to him, and be saved! He grieves at what could have been, had it not been for our stubborn insistence on our own way!
Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.(Psalm 81:13-16)
O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.(Hosea 14:1-2)
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.(Luke 19:41-44)
That the utter calamities, and humiliations that the Jewish people have endured have come about as a result of the withdrawal of God’s presence, should be obvious to any who read the Word of God. Moses described them all, the ‘curse of the Law’ of God, in Deuteronomy 28 reads like an account of the 19- 20th century Jewish experience in Eastern Europe, Russia and of course Germany.
How could one put a thousand to flight and two put ten thousand to flight except their Rock had sold them and the LORD had delivered them up?
God had promised them the opposite, and in better times in their own history, Israel had seen such miracles, When God was in the midst of them,
The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.(Deuteronomy 28:7)
They were supposed to sing this, long before these things became concrete and bitter reality, that they might connect the dots, and understand what is happening to them…particularly in the Latter Days.